Speaker forum to honor retiring teacher Mike McNulty
by Lizzie Chun and Drew Keller
Published May 14, 2014
In honor of teacher Mike McNulty’s retirement, Palo Alto High School will host its first annual Sports in American Life speakers forum from 1:50 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in the new Media Arts Center.
Dave Flemming, an announcer for the San Francisco Giants and ESPN Radio, will be the forum’s keynote speaker. According to librarian Rachel Kellerman, forum participants will also include Class of 2011 alumnus Wes Rapaport, who is pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism from Chapman University; junior Olivia Musil, athlete and McNulty’s teacher practicum student; and senior student-athlete Keller Chryst, who is committed to play at Stanford University as a quarterback this fall.
After 22 years of teaching, McNulty plans on retiring at the end of the 2013-14 school year. McNulty founded the Sports Literature English elective in 2000 and is currently the adviser of both Paly’s sports magazine The Viking and daily broadcast journalism class INfocus.
Kellerman, along with teachers from the English Department, came up with the idea to host a Sports in American Life speaker forum dedicated to McNulty.
“We wanted to do something to honor him [McNulty] in an intellectual, academic way since he started the Sports Literature class and it has been so popular at Paly,” Kellerman said. “He’s also been involved in the sporting community. … I was thinking that an interesting way to acknowledge Mr. McNulty, not just this year but [also] in years forward, would be to start a lecture talk about sports.”
Sign-ups for the speaker forum can be found here.
According to Kellerman, the purpose of the forum is to highlight the function of sports in society.
“One of the questions the speaker series will really try to answer is, ‘Why do we talk about sports?'” Kellerman said. “It [the forum] has nothing to do with sports themselves, but with society and the role sports play in society.”
As a farewell gift, McNulty said he will be donating a collection of roughly 600 to 700 books to the library. He began collecting when creating the Sports Literature class so that “students would have access to outside reading material.”
According to McNulty, his only definite plans for retirement are to travel and to remodel his home. However, he hopes to still be involved in the Paly community after retiring.
“I will still be the P.A. announcer for the football games in the fall, and I may have something to do with the Sports Pathway class [and] curriculum,” McNulty said. “I can’t work for the [Palo Alto Unified School] District for the first 180 days following retirement. … I may do some subbing as well. I’m also going to sleep a bit more.”
Junior Rowan McEvoy, an Editor in Chief of The Viking, appreciates McNulty’s role as a teacher and adviser to The Viking.
“Everyone is bummed out that Mac [McNulty] is retiring I think, especially the ones who have had him as a teacher,” McEvoy said. “He has done an amazing job as an adviser to The Viking, especially this past year. He usually just lets the students run the show, but also adds in commentary when necessary. Even though he was only our adviser for one year, we will definitely miss him. Personally, I like him because he always says ‘hi’ to everyone and makes them feel like a special part of his classes.”
Junior Katie Gonzalez noted that McNulty’s presence on campus will be missed.
“I was really sad when I finally heard that this was going to be Mac’s last year of teaching at Paly,” Gonzalez said. “I had him for sophomore English and this semester for Sports Lit, and it’s going to be weird not having him next year as a teacher or even seeing him on campus.”
According to Kellerman, the format of the speaker forum may change in the upcoming years.
“He [McNulty] told me he always envisioned having a panel discussion,” Kellerman said. “So I think next year, we’ll try and do something having more of a panel discussion and have it be during Tutorial.”